News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead

The Guardian reports:

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.

Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home.

Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

“The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”

It looks like the grounds for lack of suspicion might be buried close to the end of this article. When speaking to a Guardian journalist last week, Hoare said “he had been injured the previous weekend while taking down a marquee erected for a children’s party. He said he had broken his nose and badly injured his foot when a relative accidentally struck him with a heavy pole from the marquee.”

Nick Davies writes:

At a time when the reputation of News of the World journalists is at rock bottom, it needs to be said that the paper’s former showbusiness correspondent Sean Hoare, who died on Monday, was a lovely man.

In the saga of the phone-hacking scandal, he distinguished himself by being the first former NoW journalist to come out on the record, telling the New York Times last year that his former friend and editor, Andy Coulson, had actively encouraged him to hack into voicemail.

That took courage. But he had a particularly powerful motive for speaking. He knew how destructive the News of the World could be, not just for the targets of its exposés, but also for the ordinary journalists who worked there, who got caught up in its remorseless drive for headlines.

Explaining why he had spoken out, he told me: “I want to right a wrong, lift the lid on it, the whole culture. I know, we all know, that the hacking and other stuff is endemic. Because there is so much intimidation. In the newsroom, you have people being fired, breaking down in tears, hitting the bottle.”

He knew this very well, because he was himself a victim of the News of the World. As a showbusiness reporter, he had lived what he was happy to call a privileged life. But the reality had ruined his physical health: “I was paid to go out and take drugs with rock stars – get drunk with them, take pills with them, take cocaine with them. It was so competitive. You are going to go beyond the call of duty. You are going to do things that no sane man would do. You’re in a machine.”

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2 thoughts on “News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead

  1. bobs

    Makes sense. Broken noses often cause instant death, especially with an injured foot. Happens all the time.

  2. dave

    I mean, the guy was a heavy drinker — of course it is completelty normal and logical that he was the firsty person to blow the whistle and then he just, you know, died…natural causes and all that of course : It happens all the time. I mean, look at David Kelly who just, you know, committed suicide, just at that crucial moment.

    These things happen in UK these days. People involved in vital news stories, just, well, you know….die all of a sudden. Just like that.

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